Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination

Over the past couple of years myself, and fellow Consultant Librarians, have conducted a number of community needs assessments for our libraries in the development of their Plans of Service.  One of the most prevalent needs we hear is for communities (and libraries) to celebrate the diversity of their population.  Celebrating diversity includes making all cultures, religions and races feel welcome and included in the community.  Libraries have a large role to play here, as a municipal service, community meeting place and one of the last remaining public buildings in many communities. 

UNESCO has put together a toolkit for Municipalities, Organizations and Citizens for the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination.  The coalition itself invites municipalities to join the cause against racism and discrimination, but the toolkit provides some valuable information and resources for any organization to use.  Here is a summary of what the toolkit contains:
  • Practical Information on how to join the Coalition, develop and implement a Plan of Action, monitor your community’s progress, engage youth, collaborate with Aboriginal communities, and much more.
  • Examples of Good Practices documenting promising municipal initiatives linked to the Ten Common Commitments and offering practical advice to advance the Coalition.
  • Useful Tools such as examples of press release and media advisory, examples of resolutions adopted by City Councils, samples of Plans of Action, and many other tools.
  • Additional Resources about international and national days/weeks/months, awards, funding, media resources (many of them free) as well as a list of films related to the Ten Common Commitments prepared by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). 
In particular, you might want to check out Chapter 6 on engaging Aboriginal communities, Chapter 7 on youth engagement, and Chapter 8 on promising practices.  However, best practices are scattered throughout the toolkit, with some really interesting examples of what communities are doing in this area.

Libraries are often the model in the community for positive community engagement and providing a welcome environment, so this is a natural fit for us!  If Celebrate Diversity is one of your library's strategic goals (or even if it's not) this is a great place to start.

For more information on the Coalition, or to download the toolkit (either in whole or chapter by chapter) go to:

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